Navy Sailors Bonded with 3 Stowaway Kittens

cute rescue tabby kitten cuddle navy sailor soilder

Kitten and his cuddle buddy

cute rescue tabby kitten gives sailor a kiss

Kitten gives soldier a nose kiss

It all began when Eric Hanst and his fellow sailors were Navy deployed overseas. When they were in port for a few days, they were greeted by an unexpected guest. “A cat came aboard via mooring line. We lost track of her, and found her later that evening. We managed to get her back to the pier, and waved goodbye as we took off. This cat seemed unusually upset by this,” said Hanst.

What they did not know was that the cat didn’t just come alone. “It turns out, when she managed to sneak on board, she also managed to smuggle on three kittens. We thought she had given birth on the ship, but it was pointed out to us that they were too big to be only a few days old.”

When they were sailing off, no one on board was aware of the kittens. The little ones were very confused, looking for their mom for almost four days until they were discovered in the machine shop. “We found one initially and the other two a couple hours afterwards,” Hanst added.

Even though the crew had little experience bottle feeding a kitten, they all jumped into action, doing everything they could to help these little creatures. They did not have a bottle, so they improvised. They found boxes and necessary things to make a temporary nest for the kittens. They were all so proud, holding their new furry buddies and letting them climb all over them. When it comes to bottle feeding the kittens, these sailors showed remarkable love and care to the tiny little creatures that were about the size of their palm. They were gentle to the kittens and tended to their every whim.

“After the initial shock of being found, and feeding, the kittens were just as happy and playful as any other cute little bugger you’d find anywhere else. They were a great boost to crew morale, and I LOVED THEM,” said Hanst.

After they docked, the kittens were transported to local veterinary services. “We managed to find homes for all three kittens. I talked a friend into adopting one of the kittens, the other two were taken in by my a ‘cat couple’ who are regular rescuers.”

The soldiers rescued the kittens and the kittens gave them the companionship and love they needed during these long voyages. They both needed one another and it was a blessing that they found each other.

Photos and story submitted by ©Eric Hanst (flickr: Dire01).

cute rescue tabby kitten rescued on navy ship

cute rescue tabby kitten looking around

Little tabby loves to climb

cute rescue tuxedo kitten investigate new place

Exploring new territory

cute rescue tabby kitten and navy sailor

cute rescue tabby kittens 2 little handfuls

cute rescue tabby kitten climbs in sailor's jacket

Tabby trying to get into the jacket

sailor check on rescue kittens in a box

Soldiers enjoy playing with the kittens. They are a great boost to crew morale.

cute rescue tabby kitten and navy sailor

US navy sailor holds 2 kittens rescued on board

cute kittens rescued on navy ship

cute rescue tabby kitten explores around

cute rescue tuxedo kitten long whiskers

cute curious tabby kitten rescued by navy sailors

They share a special bond

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165 Responses to “Navy Sailors Bonded with 3 Stowaway Kittens”

  1. Debbie says:

    This story is so great!

    • That was a great story but It was heart breaking to hear that they took the mama cat off of the ship not knowing she left her kittens behind :( Poor mama kitty.

      A lovely story though :) Glad the kittens got homes and new owners that are loving warm hearted people <3

      • michelle says:

        when i was on deployment in 08 we found a baby owl in one of the jets on the flight deck. flight crew ended up taking care of it until we got to a port then let it free

      • Laura says:

        That’s exactly how I felt when reading this story… I guess being a mother I tend to put those “Motherly” qualities on that mother cat and was very sad she was seperated from her babies even if it was an unintentional separation… bless those wonderful soldiers for caring for her babies.

    • Fireshot says:

      Who knows maybe someone can find the mama and reunite her with her babies even if it is just for a little while.

  2. AG says:

    lovely story

  3. Maria Garcia says:

    Great soldiers with big hearts. )

  4. Pictsie says:

    Thank you, dear soldiers, for your big hearts! Your example is an inspiration to the rest of the world!

  5. Lashantina says:

    Thank god they did the right thing! Maybe they should keep mascot pets on board to help crew morale!

    • Jen says:

      I agree about mascots on board… maybe it would make the transition from military to home front easier!

    • Laura says:

      “MASCOTS” what a wonderful idea! Why Not! These men and women are already away from their families… husbands, wives and children… having a mascot would allow those who are missing their family a way to transfer their feelings and moments of tenderness that they would be sharing with their loved ones to a wonderful cat or kitten. Since it is easier to control their “Potty habits” with a litter box, what could be better?

  6. Lei says:

    Soldiers with big hearts. ~ so much love there.

  7. Tina says:

    Thank you for not only protecting our country but helpless kittens too!

  8. Marilyn says:

    How wonderful. Really inspirational!

  9. 24paws says:

    Now there is yet another reason I love the Navy and sailors! Way to go guys….you are in our hearts everyday anyway…and now also the hearts of animal lovers. You guys rock – GREAT pictures!!!

  10. Candace says:

    This story, and the pictures, brought a smile, and a lump in my throat. How wonderful for cats and humans alike.

  11. parihan says:

    Those are heroes with their loving and caring hearts.

  12. Angela says:

    What a beautiful story about men and kittens. I hope momma kitty is okay.

    • Cinda Lippman says:

      I agree, it is so wonderful that these great guys to care of the kittens, but it breaks my heart that their mom did not have a chance for the same.

  13. Caroline says:

    I feel sorry for the mama cat though. Who knows how long she was at that deck meowing for her kittens…

  14. Blue says:

    What a great story for the kittens! WTG American soldiers! maybe she knew that was the right place to bring them because they'd be taken care of. That was brave of her to bring them onboard like that. What a great momma cat. Animals know things like this….

    • Kim says:

      Animals, especially cats, have a wonderful sense about them. They truly do know where to bring their babies that will bring safety and comfort, much like a human mommy. I do believe that momma kitty brought her babies aboard knowing that they would be well taken care of. Sometimes we all have to make sacrifices for the safety our loved ones. As the old saying goes, “momma really does know best”. WTG momma kitty, and WTG sailors!

  15. Ingrid and the 4 fur says:

    Amazing story. Sailing vessels used to keep cats on board for rat patrol and for good luck.

  16. Mari says:

    I enjoyed this story and was glad that this was 'allowed'. In the past, I believe that there was a "Don't ask, don't tell" or "DADT" military policy when pets were involved. Otherwise, they were just tossed overboard or left behind; though, there is no story there. If there is an officer or "MILPO expert" that would like to verify/clarify this, I would most certainly appreciate it. I would like to think that if I was a ship commander, I would allow it as much as possible before imposing written military policy. Thankful for automated technology today that would allow more prompt verification of military policy than trying to memorize all those written outdated regulations. =^.,.^=

  17. Cindy Pauly Delauren says:

    What a purrfect Easter story!

    Thank you Lord 4 showing us the story of Salvation

    In this sweet story of 3 little kittens.

  18. ursulina says:

    What a great crew! Thanks to them for keeping the kitties alive & well. And for being good looking while doing it ;P

  19. sea says:

    Great story, cute kittens and wonderful soldiers, but I feel so sad for their mama :(

  20. Jubilee says:

    I loved this article. It's so beautiful. I'm going to post it of facebook. ^_^

  21. betteb410 says:

    great job crew. rescuers in more ways than expected.

  22. Meg says:

    It has been my experience that soldiers, sailors, marines and any other military folks are exceptionally kind to helpless things. Maybe it is the sense of dislocation they all feel while serving, but there are no better folk, IMHO. As much as these men gave, I have a feeling those little kittens gave their fair share of purrs, licks, and cuddles as well.

  23. Fink says:


  24. Patricia Brown says:

    I agree with Meg..most military folks feel that our animal friends are part of the society they protect and defend, and for the most part are treated with compassion and kindness.

  25. Fat Cat says:

    They should bring back the "Ship's Cat".

  26. KIMBERLY says:


    • Toast says:

      lol I'm sure the taxpayers would be really pleased to foot the bill for the fuel it would take to get back to the pier to pick up a cat.

    • H says:

      They couldn’t really go back as
      1)they have jobs and are on a schedule
      2)it had been 4 days until they actually discovered the kittens and
      3)After that time there was no guarantee the Momma cat would still be there or accept them.

      That’s just unrealistic, unfortunately.

      My heart does break for the Momma, but at least her kittens were well looked after, maybe better than could’ve been hoped on her own.

  27. Robyn says:

    What an awesome story! Great men, great heroes! Thank you so much for all that you do! God bless!

  28. Katie says:

    What a wonderful story, thank you for taking care of the kittens, and also for taking care of us humans. God bless all of you!!

  29. pumbie says:

    The first Salvation Army compound of cats: 3 peace soldiers. I feel sorry for the cat-mama. But the end was not so bad.

  30. Deidre says:

    OMG I don't know what's cuter, the kittens or the Navy Boys!!! They can be my pen pals any day!

  31. Momo says:

    How wonderful for the crew to look after the littlies!

  32. kelli says:

    amazing story, amazing photos!! thanks for sharing, love meow!

  33. Lisa says:

    This made my day!! Kindness goes a long way <3. Luv our heros!! <3

  34. sandie ;) says:

    So sweet~ the Boys & the kitties!

  35. stacey says:

    Oh my gosh, this made me smile so big! Wonderful post.. yay sailors! :)

  36. m. roy says:

    such a sweet story… but i can't help feeling sad for the mother :(

  37. Leslie says:

    I know huh,i can't believe the mother cat left her babies alone. Our guys are great protectors they don't get enough reconition.

    • James says:

      I can't believe the soldiers left the mother cat. It's so heartbreaking that a mother cat was separated forever from her kittens which she obviously loved so much. The thought of her meowing for them makes me incredibly uncomfortable and want to cry. Although, it's lovely that the soldiers took care of her babies, and that they have been given love and care.

      • H says:

        They couldn’t have taken her. They shouldn’t've had the kittens. They were doing them a MASSIVE favour and taking a risk by looking after them the way that they did.
        It was 4 days until they were discovered – they would have covered a huge amount of ‘ground’ by then.
        It’s stunning they all survived at all after 4 days without their mum.
        I’m heartbroken to know that the Mum mourned and was separated, but at least the kittens will go oon to lead great lives thanks to the fabulous kind soldiers/sailors.

  38. how cuite those sailors have a big heart and their Captian has one too for letting them on his ship good job US NAVY

  39. curator says:

    Yes I feel sad for the mom too. But it is still a lovely story and such great-hearted care on the crew's behalf.

  40. Jane Ennis says:

    Isn't this just a wonderful story!

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